BRAINSTORMS ON THE NEED FOR LINKAGES IN NIGERIA’S MANUFACTURING SECTOR
Leading Manufacturing Executives, former policy makers and subject area experts have called for Local Governments to be designated economic development units each hosting Farming clusters and SME manufacturing incubators drawing from endowments and manufacturing processes that FIIRO and RMRDC have developed or identified through many years of research but have ‘not been utilized because of weak political will and policy inconsistencies. The experts noted that with 33 percent unemployment such new thinking was an existential imperative.
These suggestions were made at 18th CVL Nigeria History Series by a panel including Former Nestle Chief Executive Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Industries Dr. Remi Aribisala and erstwhile Director-General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Prof. Gloria Elemo as well as former Manufacturers Association of Nigeria DG Dr. Uma Eleazu who had also led the Policy Centre in the Federal Government.
The panelists were building on positions advanced in NHS 16 and 17 by former Industries Ministers Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Engr. Charles Ugwu and former Planning Minister Prof. Osita Ogbu.
CVL founder Prof. Pat Utomi who moderated the session said the NHS 19 to take place on April 11 with former UNIDO Director General Dr Kandeh Yumkella, MAN President Mansur Ahmed and three former Ministers will seek to lay down a strategic path for moving Manufacturing past 25 percent of GDP in a short time to boost employment and Economic Growth.
The Virtual Zoom series streamed live on several social media platforms had among the hundred Zoom participants who made contributions to the discussion leading academics, development economists and business leaders.
The Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) had its 18th bi-weekly virtual programme tagged “The Nigeria History Series” on Sunday the 28th day of March, 2021 with the theme: “Downstream and Upstream Linkages in Manufacturing”, the series was quite interesting and thought provoking with over a hundred virtual attendees from Africa and across the globe.
It had in attendance experts in the manufacturing industry, renowned strategists, former ministers and Director Generals, who shared their thoughts and proffered meaningful solutions to the perennial problems affecting upstream and downstream linkages in the manufacturing sector of Nigeria.
Experts who shared their views in this edition of the CVL NHS included: Dr. Uma Eleazu (Former head of the Federal Government Think Tank); Dr. Mrs Oluremi Aribisala (Former Director General, Raw Material Research and Development Council); Prof. Mrs Gloria Elemo (Former Director General, Federal Institute of Industrial Research FIIRO); Chief Olusegun Osunkeye (Former Chairman/CEO Nestle Nigeria PLC).
As usual, the series was moderated by Prof. Pat Utomi (Renowned Political Economist and Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership CVL).
Discussions centered around critical national challenges like youth unemployment, low level of industrialization, lack of commercial transitioning, poor utilization of the university system, as resultant effect of government’s systemic failure to formulate, implement and effectively regulate the right kind of policies that could bring about backward integration, with emphasis on the need for growth in the manufacturing value chain as a lasting solution to these problems.
They made it unequivocally clear that there is a disconnect in the various value chains of manufacturing in Nigeria as it affects the raw material phase, production and consumption, due to the country’s over dependence on crude oil and gross neglect of the agricultural and mining sectors, emphasizing on the need for government to consolidate on efforts made by manufacturing related research institutes like The Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), to make policies that would in the long-run bring about positive changes in this very critical sector of the Nigerian Economy, thereby fostering the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) as catalyst for Economic advancement.
The following are thought-provoking quotes on the subject of discussion, from distinguished speakers that are noteworthy:
“Nigeria as a country, we are not competitive, but that does not mean that we cannot within our own country be efficient and within our own competition be efficient” Dr. Olusegun Osunkeye
“Farming Agriculture is a difficult terrain, and yet, without Agriculture, there can be no food security in the country” ” Dr. Olusegun Osunkeye
“I believe that our universities of Agriculture should be doing out growers scheme, for a lot of farmers in their catchment areas, we will benefit in the long run” Dr. Olusegun Osunkeye
“Our youths should be encouraged to do Agriculture, and to do Agriculture, our youths should have the basic Education and skills to manipulate, to run equipment, because nowadays, you can’t do cutlass and hoe Agriculture, it has to be mechanized farming” Dr. Olusegun Osunkeye
“Based on Prof. Pat Utomi’s suggestion government should acquire one thousand hectares of land in every local government, parcel them out one, one, and give to the youths” Dr. Olusegun Osunkeye
“There are two problems on government side, one is policy, and the second one regulators, and that problem still exist up till now” Dr. Oluremi Aribisala
“Too many Policies, but implementation is the flaws, there are flaws because the regulators and the policy makers are the ones that do not seems to understand the linkages” Dr. Oluremi Aribisala
“We all know that the global value chain is all about linkages, and I would say, that the problem that we have here, which we are still having up till now, which have not also allowed us to be where we should be in the global value chain has to do with linkages” Dr. Aribisala
“I think where we got it wrong is by not sitting down to do those things, which government can do well like creating an enabling environment in which private industries can start to prosper” Dr. Uma Eleazu
“Developing Human Capital is the basis for competitiveness in the present day world” Dr. Uma Eleazu
“It is time for government now to understand what one institute has done and then make policies, the right kind of policies that could attract Small and Medium Scale Enterprise to take up from where research stops” Dr. Uma Eleazu
“History will always come to play, it is not as if government and Nigeria was not privy to the fact that there is need for research and development for any country to improve or to move industrially” Professor Gloria Elemo
“Policy direction, policy encouragement is very important in ensuring that we are able to optimally maximize our local raw material” Prof. Gloria Elemo
The programme was quite educative and explosive as thoughts were shared from historical perspectives and from industry experts, discussions on manufacturing promises to continue in a fortnight.
CVL (Centre for Values in Leadership) is a social enterprise involved in leadership development activities aimed at raising self-sacrificing leaders that will drive Africa’s quest for modernity and human progress. For more than seventeen years, we have been in the fore of trying to determine, through training, research, influence and advocacy, the way leaders are shaped, for the Generation Next. We have a number of programmes in pursuit of this objective and they can be reviewed on our website, www.cvl.com.ng.
The 18th CVL Nigeria History Series episode can be watched on YouTube using the link below
Next edition of the CVL NHS series will be hosted on Sunday the 11th of April 2021